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RHYTHM & BLUES, SOUL & DOO-WOP

The Coasters -> King Curtis

 

THE COASTERS Collectables 7656 The Coasters/ One By One ● CD $13.98
26 tracks, 71 mins, recommended
The first two LPs by my favorite 50s and 60s r&B/ rock 'n' roll group. The first LP has 14 tracks with one classic after another including their first hits (Searchin'/ One Kiss Led To Another and Young Blood) tracks they had previously recorded for Spark as The Robins (Smokey Joe's Cafe/ Riot In Cell Block Number Nine/ Framed, etc) and other delights. The second LP, is, to say the least, a bit of a departure. It features completely straight versions of pop and jazz standards performed by individual members of the group with orchestral accompaniment. The performances are well done and the singers sound quite comfortable in this setting but I'm not quite sure who the audience for the LP were. It's too "straight" for the teen audience but probably not straight enough the moms and dads. That being said it's worth a listen with Billy Guy's performances of the bluesy Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You and Don't Get Around Much Aymore being particularly effective thanks to his eccentric vocal stylings and Cornel Gunter doing a heartfelt rendition of Autumn Leaves. (FS)

 
THE COASTERS Rhino 71597 Very Best Of ● CD $6.98
16 classic sides
Riot in Cell Block #9/ Smokey Joe's Cafe/ Down in Mexico/ Searchin'/ Idol With the Golden Head/ Young Blood/ Yakety Yak/ Charlie Brown/ Along Came Jones/ That Is Rock & Roll/I'm a Hog for You Baby/ Poison Ivy/ What About Us/ Run Red Run/ Little Egypt/ Shoppin' for Clothes

 
THE COASTERS Rhino 398972 Greatest Hits ● CD $11.98
16 tracks, highly recommended
If you can't afford or don't want the four CD set of all of The Coasters recordings here is a fine budget priced set featuring their 16 more popular sides issued between 1955 and 1961 including their two early hits as The Robins. Includes Riot In Cell Block #9/ Smokey Joes Cafe/ Down In Mexico/ Searchin'/ Idol With A Golden Head/ Young Blood/ Yakety Yak/ Charlie Brown/ Along Came Jones/ That Is Rock & Roll/ I'm A Hog For You/ Poison Ivy/ What About Us/ Run Red Run/ Little Egypt and Shopping For Clothes (FS)

 
BILL CODAY Ecko 1003 Sneakin' Back ● CD $16.98
 

 
EDDIE COLE & THE THREE PEPPERS Collectables 5331 That's Right! ● CD $11.98
 

 
THE CONCORDS Crystal Ball 1011 The Best Of the Concords - Again! ● CD $17.98
The Brooklyn Concords are one of the better aggregations from the white revival era of the early 60's, that is to say the guys rarely sing flat. Too bad the bulk of their material is of little lasting significance. The original quartet consisted of Dickie Goldman, lead; Mike Lewis, first tenor; Murray Moshe, 2nd tenor; Chas Presti, baritone; and Steven Seider, bass. The group cut three outstanding sides, Our Last Goodbye (Gramercy, 1961), It's Our Wedding Day Down The Aisle Of Love (Boom, 1966), all included in this set along with 27 other tracks on CD for the first time including back up work for Sue Kenny, Joel Grayson and others. (OLN/FS)
THE CONCORDS: A Fool In Love/ Again/ Away/ Cold and Frosty Morning/ Cross My Heart/ Don't Go Now/ Down The Aisle of Love/ Ev'ryone Was There But You/ First Date/ He's So Good/ I Feel Love Comin' On/ It's Our Wedding Day/ Little Girl/ Look/ Marlene/ Mr Moon/ My Dreams/ My True Story/ No More/ One Step From Heaven/ Our Last Goodbye/ Our Love Wasn't Meant To Be/ Run To Me/ Scarlet Ribbons/ Should I Cry/ The Boy Most Likely/ Tonight/ True Confession/ Why Do I Cry/ You Are My Sunshine

 
LITTLE JOE COOK Eagle 90410 The Ultimate Little Joe Cook Collection ● CD $17.98
32 tracks, 78 min., recommended
A maximum length overview of the performing career of the man who found his greatest fame with his falsetto lead on the 1957 hit Peanuts by Little Joe and the Thrillers. Joe Cook actually began his recording career in 1949, recording with the gospel group, the Evening Star Quartet, two of whose recordings - Say a Prayer for the Boys in Korea and Make It In - are including here. His many subsequent vocal group and solo sides make up the rest of the varied program here, including Peanuts, Please Don't Go, The Echoes Keep Calling Me, Let's Do the Slop, This I Know, These Lonely Tears, Meet Me Down at Soulville, and Doodle Pickle. Most tracks fall between 1956 and 1961, and run the gamut between doo-wop and soul. Sound quality, cover graphics, and the strangely-spelled liner notes are all up to snuff. (DH)

 
LITTLE JOE COOK & THRILLERS/ SCHOOLBOYS Collectables 5076 Little Joe & The Thrillers Meet The Schoolboys ● CD $11.98
Little Joe Cook is from Philly and a strong church background. In 1949 and '51, Joe sang lead with The Evening Star Quartet (see Gotham Gospel - Amazing Grace, Krazy Kat 836) on Gotham/ Apex. He then carried over his high falsetto tenor from gospel to pop music, and with a new group The Thrillers signed with Columbia/ Okeh. Their second release, and worst effort Peanuts became a monster smash around Xmas 1956. Gems like This I Know/ Please Don't Go went nowhere (all three are included). The Schoolboys were Okeh Records' answer to The Teenagers. This Harlem-based teentette started out as The Scobians, until Tommy "Dr. Jive" Smalls gave the group their new improved name. The group's best remembered sides are Shirley/ Please Say You Want Me (1956), both included here alongside odes for gals named Mary, Pearl, and Carol. 6 songs each. (OLN)

 
SAM COOKE Abkco 3563 Keep Movin' On ● CD $18.98
23 tracks, 62 min, essential
When the Sam Cooke four CD box set, "The Man Who Invented Soul" (RCA 67911) came out, it had a fatal flaw. Sam's final recordings, from '63-64 were absent. They were controlled by the infamous Allan B Klein's ABKCO, notorious for suppressing their holdings from being released on CD on CD, from The Rolling Stones to Phil Spector to Cameo/Parkway, even Herman's Hermits! Of course none of those tunes were allowed on the box, nor were they available anywhere else. Now ABKCO has come through with this exceptional package on their Tracey subsidiary. Everything here is wonderful & includes classics such as Good News/ A Change Is Gonna Come/ Shake/ Good Times/ Another Saturday Night/ Rome Wasn't Built In A Day/ Yeah Man, none of which were on the box. To make this even more wonderful, the title track is making it's 1st ever appearance. Complete liner notes, great sound make this as an essential package as you can get, with no overlap with the box. (GM)

 
SAM COOKE Specialty SPCD 2119 The Two Sides Of Sam Cooke ● CD $11.98
 

 
COOKIE & THE CUPCAKES Jin 9037 By Request ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 53 min., essential
Louisiana swamp-pop at its finest, Cookie (Huey Thierry) and the Cupcakes recorded their big hit Mathilda (included here) for George Khoury's Lyric label (later distributed on Judd and Chess) in 1959 and spent much of the next decade cutting stunning swamp-pop originals like Belinda/ I Cried/ Trouble In My Life/ I've Been So Lonely, and equally wonderful R&B covers, including Chuck Willis' Betty And Dupree/ Charged With Cheating and Ivory Joe Hunter's I Almost Lost My Mind. Cookie shares vocal duties with Shelton Dunnaway on (Just One Kiss/ Honey Hush) and Lil' Alfred (Walking Down The Isle/ Even Though). Get it if you don't got it. (JC)

 
LES COOPER Collectables 5157 Wiggle Wobble ● CD $11.98
12 R&B sax tracks.

 
THE CORONETS/ THE PELICANS Krypton 6003 And Now Ladies & Gentlemen .. The Cornets Meet The Pelicans ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, 56 mins, highly recommended
The complete recordings of two fine vocal groups recording in the mid 50s. The Coronets from Cleveland had a big R&B hit in 1953 with the soulful ballad Nadine which is included here along with 13 other tracks - mostly ballads along with the occasional rockers - It Would Be Heavenly/ Should I/ I Love You More/ Hush/ Footsteps/ Don't Deprive Me, etc. The Pelicans were a West Coast group and their material is most bluesy rockers with solid backup including some particularly fine guitar work. Includes Chimes/ Miss lucy/ Drunk Drunk Drunk/ Down In Mexico (not The Coasters songs)/I Won't Be Back and others. (FS)

 
THE COUNTS Note 1001 The Counts ● CD $17.98
22 tracks, 61 min., highly recommended
The digital reissue of the complete output of this relatively obscure Indianapolis vocal group, offering a solid mix of jump and ballads, with impressive sound quality, minimal but enthusiastic liner notes, and one unnecessarily distorted vintage photograph. The Counts recording career began in 1954 and ended in 1956, during which time their output included Darling Dear, perhaps their best known number, plus Hot Tamales, She Won't Say Yes, Baby I Want You, an r&b cover of Joan Webber's pop hit Let Me Go Lover, Love and Understanding, Sally Walker, Heartbreaker, Each Night, and Sweet Names. All in all, a group whose performances reveal a decided blues edge. Well worth the price of admission. (DH)

 
DON COVAY Official 5565 Ooh! My Soul ● CD $17.98
A collection of 26 sides from the 50s and early 60s recorded by Covay before he achieved fame as a soul songwriter. It includes rockin' R&B and vocal group stylings - some of the former very much in the vein of Little Richard who Covay was an opening act for. There is doo wop material with his first group The Rainbows and some Drifters style material. Includes Ooh! My Soul/ Believe It or Not/ Rockin' The Mule/ One Little Boy Had Money/ Come On Back/ Pony Time/ Hand Jive Workout/ It's terrific and others including the original recordings of his classic mercy, Mercy

 
ROBERT COVINGTON Evidence 26074 Blues In The Night ● CD $12.98
9 tracks, 42 minutes, good
Reissue of Red Beans 012 from '88. Covington, the "Dapper Drummer" from the Sunnyland Slim Band, is heard on these 9 fine pieces of uptown soul & blues, backed up by Chicagoans carl Weathersby (g), Sumito Ariohshi (p) & Lonnie Brooks's bassist Harlan Terson. As an added bonus, there's Robert's '83 single for B.L.U.E.S., I Want Ta Thank Ya. Includes a bunch of Robert's originals as well as fine covers of Mack Rice's Playing On Me, Willie & Muddy's I Just Want To Make Love To You, James Gordon's Mean Mistreater, & a beautiful version of the title standard. (GM)

 
JAMES "SUGAR BOY" CRAWFORD Bayou 1001 30 New Orleans Classics ● CD $18.98
30 tracks of classic New Orleans R&B from the 50s by this fine performer including his first four sides from 1952 with the vocal group The Shaweez. Includes Jock-O-Mo/ No More Heartaches/ I Don't Need You/ Ooh Wee Sugar/ Stop/ What's Wrong/ There Goes My Baby/ Trouble Mind/ You Made Me Love You, etc.

 
THE CRESCENDOS Teen-Ager 609 Sweet Dreams About ... ● CD $17.98
20 tracks of teen doo-wop from Nashville group best known for their big 1957 hit Oh Julie which is included here along with Angel Face/ Young And In Love/ Let's Take A Walk/ Crazy Hop/ School Girl/ My Little Girl/ I've Tried/ Lucky Love, etc.

 
THE CRESTS Collectables 5009 Golden Classics ● CD $11.98
18 tracks from the late 50s/ early 60s by this group with the soaring lead vocals of Johnny Maestro. Includes their hits 16 Candles/ Six Nights A Week/ Flower Of Love/ The Angels Listened In, etc plus less successful titles.
THE CRESTS: 16 Candles/ A Year Ago Tonight/ Beside You/ Flower of Love/ Gee But I'd Give The World/ I Thank The Moon/ Isn't It Amazing/ It Must Be Love/ Journey of Love/ Mister Happiness/ Model Girl/ Pretty Little Angel/ Six Nights A Week/ Step By Step/ The Angels Listened In/ Trouble In Paradise/ What A Surprise/ Young Love

 
THE CRICKETS Relic 7022 Dreams And Wishes ● CD $14.98
The compact disc issue of the Jay Dee and MGM tracks by one of the smoothest and best vocal groups of the early fifties. Led by the distinctive tenor of lead singer Dean Barlow, at their best The Crickets rank with The Flamingos and The Harptones as masters of the romantic ballad. Specific titles include the beautiful Be Faithful/ You're Mine/ Changing Partners/ Are You Looking for a Sweetheart and I'm Going to Live My Life Alone. Excellent sound quality and fine notes, but I still think that Relic needs to hire a new art department to design its covers. Oh Well. Buy it for the music. (DH)
THE CRICKETS: Are You Looking For A Sweetheart/ Be Faithful/ Changing Partners/ Dreams And Wishes/ Fine As Wine/ For You/ I Have Eyes/ I'll Cry No More/ I'm Going To Live My/ I'm Not The One You Love/ Just You/ Live Alone/ Man From The Moon/ Milk And Gin/ My Little Baby's Shoes/ Never Give Up Hope/ When I Met You/ You're Mine/ Your Love

 
STEVE CROPPER/ POP STAPLES/ ALBERT KING Stax 8544 Jammed Together ● CD $12.98
 

 
THE CROWS/ THE HARPTONES Collectables 7004 Echoes Of A Rock Era ● CD $16.98
Repress of Roulette double album circa 1972, featuring material recently regurgitated on out of print Murray Hill collections (#1071 & 1098). Harlem's alleyway harmonizers The Crows quartet are made up of Daniel "Sonny" Norton, William Davis, Harold Major, and Gerald Hamilton. The group recorded over a dozen sides during a two-year period, principally on George Goldner's Rama label. Their most remembered swan songs were Gee/ Baby. Although their style was not particularly unique, the excitement generated during live concerts could not be matched. Harlem's Haarptones, on the other hand, had a distinctly 'soft' harmonic sound made renowned by one Willie Winfield. Here the quintet sing all their heaviest requests: Sunday Kind Of Love/ My Memories Of You/ That's The Way It Goes/ The Shrine Of St. Cecilia etc., all arranged by the great Raoul Cita. The Bruce/ Rama group consisted of Winfield, Nicky Clark, Jimmy Beckum, Bill Galloway, Churtis Cherebin, and Bill Brown. Classic uptown doo-wop - 12 cuts by each. (OLN)
THE CROWS: Baby/ Call the Doctor/ Gee/ Heartbreaker/ I Love You So/ I Really Really Love You/ Mambo Chevitz/ Miss You/ Perfidia/ Seven Lonely Days/ Sweet Sue/ Untrue/ THE HARPTONES: A Sunday Kind of Love/ Cry Like I Cried/ My Memories of You/ On Sunday Afternoon/ Oo Wee Baby/ So Good, So Fine, You're Mine/ That's the Way It Goes/ The Masquerade Is Over/ The Shrine of St Cecilia/ Three Wishes/ Until the Real Thing Comes Along/ What Did I Do Wrong

 
THE CRYSTALS & THE MELLO MOODS Show Time 101 Let's All Go Doo-Woppin' ● CD $18.98
11 tracks by The Crystals and 9 by The Mello Moods.
THE CRYSTALS: Come To Me Darling/ Don't You Go/ Four Woman/ God Only Knows/ Have Faith In Me/ My Dear/ My Girl/ My Heart's Desire/ My Love/ Oh But She Did/ Squeeze Me Baby/ THE MELLO MOODS: And I Just Can't Go Through Life Alone/ Call On Me/ How Could You/ I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night/ I Tried and Tried and Tried/ I'm Lost/ The Christmas Song/ When I Woke This Morning/ Where Are You

 
THE CUES Bear Family BCD 15510 Why ● CD $21.98
28 tracks, recommended
Originally issued in 1991 but out of print for a number of years and now repressed. The N.Y. Cues quintet were Jesse Stone's background singers, who recorded behind almost all the R&B artists on Atlantic during the 50's, as well as with Georgia Gibbs, Jimmy Breedlove (who sang lead in the group) and for Groove Records billed as The Four Students. The original 1954 group was composed of veteran Ollie Jones - lead tenor, Abel DeCosta, Edward Barnes, and Robie Kirk. The group suffered terribly from lousy A&R, as it seems that most of their repertoire was made up of novelty and lightweight pop-oriented mush. However, this 28-cut collection, which covers their entire Capitol, Lamp, Prep, and Groove output, plus previously unreleased Capitol sides and one single for Jubilee, does include a smatter of redeeming vocal moments. Nice booklet with great rare pics, notes and discography. (OLN)
THE CUES: Be My Wife/ Burn That Candle/ Charlie Brown/ Crackerjack/ Crazy, Crazy Party/ Destination 2100 & 65/ Don't Make Believe/ Forty 'leven Dozen Ways/ Hot Rotten Soda Pop/ I Fell For Your Loving/ I Pretend/ Killer Diller/ Ladder/ Much Obliged/ Oh My Darlin'/ Ol' Man River./ Only You/ Poppa Loves Momma/ Prince Or Pauper/ Rock 'n' Roll Mr. Oriole/ Scoochie Scoochie/ So Near And Yet So Far/ The Girl I Love/ Warm Spot/ Why?/ Yes Sir/ Yes Sir/ You're On My Mind

 
KING CURTIS Ace CDCHD 545 Trouble In Mind/ It's Party Time ● CD $18.98
21 tracks, 65 min., recommended
The straightforward reissue of two lps from the early 60's: TRU-15001 and TRU-15008, on the first of which, Mr. "King" Curtis Ousley, the stellar session sax man, does a credible job of singing. Among the vocal gems are the self-penned I Have to Worry, the classic Trouble in Mind, and Chuck Willis's Don't Deceive Me. And among the more expected instrumental standouts are Free For All, Hot Saxes, The Party Time Twist, (Let's Do) The Hully Gully Twist, Slow Motion, and Something Frantic. Tempos vary, a virtue in my book, moods range from downhome blues to mellow jazz and even a slight touch of country, and the musicianship, of course, is nothing short of splendid. (DH)

 
KING CURTIS Ace CDCHD 614 Old Gold/ Doing The Dixie Twist ● CD $18.98
Two Tru-Sound LPs on one CD.

 
KING CURTIS Bear Family BCD 15670 Blow Man, Blow! ● CD $75.98
Before the session sax master "King" Curtis (Ousley) moved to Atlantic Records in 1965, he spent three frustrating years at Capitol. He frequently found fault with the corporate execs there, who started him in '62 with a session's worth of country tunes, hoping of cashing in on Ray Charles' Modern Sounds LP. On Wagon Wheels and a couple of others, Curtis even sings a little like Ray. Aside from Soul Serenade, which stalled at #51 on the 1964 charts, Capitol wasn't happy with the return they were getting on their investment. From this odd union, however, came some fine recordings. The many styles represented on this 77-cut (many previously unissued), 3-disc set are a testament to Curtis' versatility, as he moved easily from pop to jazz to soul to R&B to country. And while some songs are filler (Do The Monkey comes to mind), even they have moments of redemption courtesy of Curtis, who lifted weak material up to his level. The 12" x 12" booklet contains discography, notes from Peter Grendysa, and a wealth of photos including 4 wonderful publicity stills. (JC)

 
KING CURTIS Capitol 36504 The Best Of King Curtis ● CD $15.98
16 Capitol sides with accompaniments by Billy Butler, George Stubbs, Ernie Hayes, and others - Night Train/ Soul Twist/ Soul Serenade/ Slow Drag/ Strollin' Home/ Tanya/ Hung Over/ More Soul/ A Change Is Gonna Come, etc.

 
KING CURTIS Collectables 5119 Soul Twist And Other Golden Classics ● CD $11.98
Fabulous New York R&B collection with fellow tenor honkers Willis "Gatortail" Jackson and Noble Watts. 15 cuts, mostly instrumental.

 
KING CURTIS Collectables 5156 Enjoy Records...The Best Of - Golden Classics ● CD $11.98
King Curtis fans have certainly been well served lately on the reissue front. This disc collects 10 Enjoy label sides, including his big hit Soul Twist, already reissued on the plainly superior Collectables #5119 - Soul Twist And Other Golden Classics (LP and CD). Some of these "classics" sure ain't no 14 karat gold, but I bet you'll gyrate to Groovin' With The King/ Sach O'Woe/ the instrumental version of What'd I Say and the sax-less closer Hot Potatoes. Midnight Blue is a mellow nocturnal number with oh-so-good solos by Curtis and his guitarist (most likely Mickey Baker, who steals the spotlight more than once on this disc). Forget about the rest of these sides, especially the two vocal numbers, but get the aforementioned volume or the Edsel release reviewed in this issue at least. (MB)

 
KING CURTIS Collectables 5687 The Best Of King Curtis ● CD $13.98
18 Capitol tracks - Tanya/ Bill Bailey/ Soul Twist/ Night Train/ Soul Serenade/ One Mint Julep/ Hide Away/ The Prance/ Summer Dream, etc.

 
KING CURTIS & CHAMPION JACK DUPREE Collectables 6331 Blues at Montreux ● CD $11.98
6 tracks, 38 min., recommended
The pairing of a 61 year-old blues singer/ piano player with a 36 year-old sax session man may seem incongruous. But at Montreux in 1971, it was a match. Dupree pumps out a little piano, says something clever and then trades verses with Curtis's sax in a song about cheap wine and expensive women. The extraordinary rhythm section of Jerry Jermott (b) and Oliver Jackson (d) invigorates rather than just keeping pace. Songs include Junker's Blues/ Sneaky Pete/ Everything's Gonna Be Alright/ Get With It/ Poor Boy Blues/ I'm Having Fun. A minor find and one of Curtis's last recordings. (JC)

 
KING CURTIS Collectables 6418 Have Tenor Sax, Will Blow/ Live At Small's Paradise ● CD $13.98
21 tracks, 70 mins, recommended
Two complete Atco albums - "Have Tenor Sax" is from 1959 and features 11 tunes with accompaniments from the likes of fellow New York horn man Noble Watts and such great guitarists as Al Casey, Jimmy Spruill and Joe Puma and bassist Jimmy Lewis. Mostly cooking originals from Curtis including Midnight Ramble/ The Shake/ Lil' Brothers/ The Groove and others. The second album from his second stint with Atco is from 1966 and is a live set with Melvin Lastie, Cornell Dupree, Paul Griffin and others. The material is a mix of originals and covers of the expected (Philly Dog/ Something On Your Mind) and the unexpected (Get Along Cindy/ Blowing In the Wind) - the latter is given an arrangement very similar to his hit Soul Serenade. The performances are good without having the drive of the earlier set and the apathetic audience doesn't help. Still, a worthwhile package. (FS)

 
KING CURTIS Koch 8015 Plays The Memphis Hits/ King Size Soul ● CD $16.98
Two Atco albums from 1967 on one CD - the former is mostly songs and tunes that were hits on Stax and affiliated labels - Knock On Wood/ Hold On, I'm Comin'/ Green Onions/ Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-fa (Sad Song)/ The Dog and others. "King Size Soul" is a collection of pop, R&B, rock and country hits of the 60s - Ode To Billy Joe/ For What It's Worth/ Memphis Soul Stew/ I Never Loved A Man/ C.C. Rider, etc.

 
KING CURTIS Relic 7102 Piping Hot - The Complete Enjoy Sessions ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 42 min., recommended
Among the current bumper crop of overdue King Curtis releases this fine collection from Relic, containing all of Curtis's early 60's recordings for Bobby Robinson's Enjoy label, is surely the most vibrant of the lot. The combination of one of the preeminent session sax men in Curtis and sympathetic entrepreneurial expertise in Robinson not only produced high energy instrumental and vocal music, but it also produced for Curtis what no one had done for him before, a certified hit in Soul Twist. And the other tracks here are equally solid, including Harmonica Twist, What'd I Say, Irresistible You, I Know, Sack O'Woe, Get With It, and the title track. It's too bad in at least some ways that Curtis left Robinson's label so quickly, signing with Capitol in late 1962. (DH)

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